Busta Rhymes and his bodyguard have been sued by a fan who says the two men beat him after he asked for the rapper's autograph.
Melvin Smith, 37, says in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court that Rhymes and Troy Green, both 33, "maliciously assaulted, beat, pushed and shoved him" outside the Corner Gourmet II deli near City Hall on Sept. 6, 2005.
The beating, court papers say, caused a cut under Smith's right eye that required four stitches. Smith has been unable to work as a handyman because of neck and back injuries he also sustained, his lawyer, Bruce Regenstreich, said Thursday.
"He was asking for an autograph," Regenstreich said. "That's all he was doing. He's a fan. He wasn't being a wise guy."
"He got punched two or three times," said Regenstreich. "He was taken to New York University Hospital. At the hospital, he indicated it was both of them who hit him."
Green, of Brooklyn, was arrested Sept. 7, 2005, and charged with third-degree assault, third-degree attempted assault and second-degree harassment, all misdemeanors. He is due back in Manhattan Criminal Court on April 11.
Rhymes has not been charged with anything, the district attorney's office said.
Smith's lawsuit, made public Wednesday, seeks unspecified damages from Green and Rhymes, whose real name is Trevor Smith.
Rhymes' representative at Violator Management did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press for comment.
Regenstreich said Thursday he did not know where Rhymes was and did not know if he had a lawyer.
New York City police also have been trying to meet with Rhymes to interview him about the shooting death last month of another of his bodyguards, Israel Ramirez. Ramirez, 29, was killed outside a Brooklyn studio where Rhymes was recording a music video.